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Man in lot causes lockout at South Colonie

Three schools in the South Colonie Central School District went into a 30-minute lockout Wednesday, Sept. 17, after threats to teachers were reportedly made at around 8:20 a.m. by what School Resources Officer Jeff Clark described as a panhandler in the Roessleville parking lot off California Avenue.

The schools, Roessleville Elementary School, Sand Creek Middle School and Colonie Central High School, went into lockout as Colonie police searched for the suspect.

The man was later apprehended at the intersection of Central Avenue and Fuller Road at about 8:50 a.m., according to district officials.

According to Clark, no one was ever in any danger during the lockout, and the students of Roessleville Elementary School had not yet reported for school at the time when the lockout occurred. Students do not report to the schools until 9:15 a.m. Students at Sand Creek Middle School and Colonie Central High School had, however, reported to school, so the lockout was enforced as a precautionary measure, Clark said.

This is the second lockout the district has had to conduct in the past six months. The last lockout, which occurred April 7, took place at Forest Park Elementary School and Central Avenue Learning Center after two robbery suspects were believed to be in the vicinity.

That hour-and-fifteen-minute lockout ended with the apprehension of the suspects.

At the time, then-Superintendent of Schools Michael Marcelle explained the difference between a "lockdown" and a "lockout."

"In a lockout, we lock all the doors, and no one is allowed out of the building," he said. "If we thought someone of danger was inside the building, we would have had a lockdown."

Marcelle also said that during a lockout, activities inside go on as usual, and that during the last lockout, students were mostly unaware of the circumstances.

Following a lockout, the district's procedure is to send a letter home with students, explaining to parents that there was a lockout and what the circumstances were.

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